NatWest T20 Blast Quarter Final
We now know the identity of two of the four sides heading to Edgbaston next weekend for the NatWest T20 Blast finals day and on Wednesday we will find out the third team of four to go into the semi-finals when Gloucestershire host Durham in the next quarter final at Bristol.
Gloucestershire were the winners of the South Group and the best team in either group in terms of wins so they will be confident of coming through but Durham finished fourth on the last night of qualifying in the North and might just relish the opportunity with nothing to lose.
Michael Klinger’s men were fantastic in the league stage but this is a different kettle of fish now. We’re playing knockout cricket and it will be interesting to see how this young side cope with that. We know they managed to cope in the 50 over competition last year but you have longer to recover from bad spells in that.
If they are to win you would think the overseas duo of Michael Klinger and Andrew Tye will be pivotal but in Matt Taylor the Gladiators have a potential England star of the future and his spell at the start and the death could be important too.
You would struggle to make a case for Durham being in any way consistent in this tournament this year but they have made it through by the skin of their teeth and don’t have a huge amount to lose now. They can just let it go with the bat and bowl and field to the best of their abilities and see where it takes them.
Their bowling attack is capable of shooting sides out so if their batsmen can do the job then Durham shouldn’t be written off completely in this match but you do get the feeling they are going to need to bat well if they are to come through.
Gloucestershire have a few injuries starting to pile up. Chris Dent and Gareth Roderick are both out injured for this match which leaves holes in their batting line up. 19 year old keeper Patrick Grieshaber will make his T20 debut as Phil Mustard is ineligible against his parent club.
Durham have Mark Wood in their side for this match which could be crucial but they are without the injured Ben Stokes and Phil Mustard who they have ditched just before his contract ran out. Crucially Paul Collingwood is in the squad too.
There have been six matches on this ground so far this season but surprisingly given their dominance in the South Group, Gloucestershire only won three of them so that is a statistic that might keep Durham interested.
Sussex put up well over 200 in the opening match of the season here but generally the scores are around the 160-170 mark although we’ve seen in both quarter finals so far that the scoring hasn’t been as high as they should be on the excellent wickets on show.
I’ve a sneaky feeling Durham win this match. I think the inclusion of Mark Wood is significant and his four overs could prove to be the difference. One reason why I think Durham can win this is because they have nothing to lose and in what is likely to be a nervy contest that could also be important.
We’ve seen the North Group prove totally dominant in these quarter finals so far and I’m not altogether surprised by that because it is much the strongest group at the minute and that also plays into the hands of Durham too.
I like Gloucestershire. I like the way they go about their business but if Michael Klinger was to fail with the bat I do fear for them and so for me the value is with the visitors to pull off the upset in this one.
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